Rain fails to dampen spirits

NO ONE can accuse Rod Stewart's Ipswich audience of being fair weather fans after their drenching at Portman Road.But the ageing rocker proved that while he might be eligible for a free ride on the buses, he can still thrill an audience of thousands.

NO ONE can accuse Rod Stewart's Ipswich audience of being fair weather fans after their drenching at Portman Road.

But the ageing rocker proved that while he might be eligible for a free ride on the buses, he can still thrill an audience of thousands.

The rain was very unwelcome, but it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd who were determined to have a good time whatever.

Yesterday's downpours caused havoc across the county, but compared with those in Yorkshire and the midlands we have still escaped relatively lightly.

The rain might have been inconvenient. It might have forced some people to change their plans for the evening. But no homes have been flooded out, no lives have been blighted.

A dreadful demonstration of the power of the weather came at Woolverstone where two girls from the Ipswich High School were struck by lightning as they waited for their bus.

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Everyone will be relieved to hear that their injuries were not life-threatening and will be wishing them a full and speedy recovery.

It is too early to say whether this year's dreadful summer is the result of global warming or is just the kind of weather we get in this country during some years.

And at least we are not hearing any warnings about a potential drought during the summer of 2007.

AFTER nearly four months in captivity, BBC correspondent Alan Johnston is today enjoying his first day of freedom and will be looking forward to returning to Britain and time with his family.

Everyone who believes in free speech will be delighted that this courageous professional has come through this ordeal - and it was good to hear him talking so clearly immediately after his release.

His captivity was a reminder to everyone that reporting in war zones is a hazardous business - people risk their lives to tell the world what is happening in global hotspots.

But it is vital that there are courageous reporters willing to do that. If there were not people like Alan Johnston in this world, we would have no knowledge of what is happening in war zones - and those fighting would have no one to answer to. That would make the world a far worse place.